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MOVIE GOLD

April 24, 2014

FOR THE LOVE OF SHEMP

Poor Shemp is about to receive the business end of brother Moe's hammer.  This was standard behavior in the comedy team's short-subjects. Larry Fine (l) contemplates some mayhem of his own. (c) Columbia
Poor Shemp is about to receive the business end of brother Moe's hammer.  This was standard behavior in the comedy team's short-subjects. Larry Fine (l) contemplates some mayhem of his own. (c) Columbia

Poor Shemp is about to receive the business end of brother Moe’s hammer. This was standard behavior in the comedy team’s short-subjects. Larry Fine (l) contemplates some mayhem of his own. (c) Columbia

 

They called him ‘The Ugliest Man in the Movies.’ Perhaps that’s not the nicest way to describe comedian Shemp Howard, but he was certainly one of the funniest!

He was a brother to Moe Howard, the ringleader of the Three Stooges comedy team. His other sibling was the brilliant Jerome (Curly) Howard.

Shemp worked with his brothers and Larry Fine in vaudeville, but declined to join the act when they began making short-subjects for Columbia. He had a busy screen career of his own, appearing in character roles in a variety of 1940s movies, most frequently for Universal Studios.

After Curly’s heart-attack in the mid-40s, Shemp stepped in to keep the team going in films. He had a tough act to follow, as no one could replace the rotund Stooge. But Shemp gave it is all and after a while contributed some fine comedy moments to the trio’s many two-reelers.

It was fashionable for many fans to hate on Shemp. He was certainly no Curly, but nowadays Stooge afficionados have come to realize what an expressive funnyman he really was.

Following are some non-Stooge pix of Shemp Howard from his many screen appearances. Hopefully you’ll see another side of this great character player!

 

This still is from 'Three of a Kind,' a 1944 epic from Monogram Studios. That's rotund comedian Billy Gilbert on the left, with Shemp on the opposite side. The gent preparing to give them the bum's rush is Max 'Slapsie Maxie' Rosenbloom. 'Slapsie' was a popular boxer who parlayed his sports fame into a career playing character roles in movies. (c) Monogram

This still is from ‘Three of a Kind,’ a 1944 epic from Monogram Studios. That’s rotund comedian Billy Gilbert on the left, with Shemp on the opposite side. The gent preparing to give them the bum’s rush is Max ‘Slapsie Maxie’ Rosenbloom. ‘Slapsie’ was a popular boxer who parlayed his sports fame into a career playing character roles in movies. (c) Monogram

 

Shemp had a part in the 1943 Universal film, 'Crazy House,' which is one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films. The gents wearing the wide-lapelled suits are the comedy team of Ole Olson and Chic Johnson. 'Crazy House' was based on their hit Broadway review. (c) Universal

Shemp had a part in the 1943 Universal film, ‘Crazy House,’ which is one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite films. The gents wearing the wide-lapelled suits are the comedy team of Ole Olson and Chic Johnson. ‘Crazy House’ was based on their hit Broadway review. (c) Universal

 

Veteran character actress Mary Wickes towers over Sgt. Shemp in this scene from the 1942 piece of wartime fluff, 'Private Buckaroo.'  Forties stalwarts Harry James and the Andrews Sisters contributed some great musical numbers in this little programmer. (c) Universal

Veteran character actress Mary Wickes towers over Sgt. Shemp in this scene from the 1942 piece of wartime fluff, ‘Private Buckaroo.’ Forties stalwarts Harry James and the Andrews Sisters contributed some great musical numbers in this little programmer. (c) Universal

 

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